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Google, Microsoft, and Nucor Unveil Initiative to Aggregate Demand

Google, Microsoft, and Nucor Corp., a steel and steel products producer, on March 19 announced that they will work together “across the electricity ecosystem to develop new business models and aggregate their demand for advanced clean electricity technologies.”

These models will be designed to accelerate the development of first-of-a-kind and early commercial projects, including advanced nuclear, next-generation geothermal, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage and others, they said.

As a first step, the companies said they will issue a request for information in several U.S. regions for potential projects in need of offtake, and encouraged technology providers, developers, investors, utilities and others interested in responding to get in touch here.

The companies said they will initially focus on proving out the demand aggregation and procurement model through advanced technology pilot projects in the United States.

The companies said they will pilot a project delivery framework focused on three enabling levers for early commercial projects: signing offtake agreements for technologies that are still early on the cost curve, “bringing a clear customer voice to policymakers and other stakeholders on broader long-term ecosystem improvements and developing new enabling tariff structures in partnership with energy providers and utilities.” 

In addition to “supporting innovative technologies that can help decarbonize electricity systems worldwide, this demand aggregation model will bring clear benefits to large energy buyers,” the companies said.

Pooling demand enables buyers to offtake larger volumes of carbon-free electricity from a portfolio of plants, reducing project-specific development risk, and enables procurement efficiencies and shared learnings, they said.

To ensure that the project delivery framework that they develop is transparent and scalable, Google, Microsoft, and Nucor said that they will share their lessons learned and the roadmap from their first pilot projects and encourage other companies to consider how they can also support advanced clean electricity projects.

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